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Would greatly appreciate advice on which university to apply to?

A photo of BrunoMars BrunoMars
I am a grade 12 student pursuing life science/health science.
Im not too sure which Universities are good and high ranked worldwide?

All I know is Im applying to:


I dont want to go to UofT (based on reviews, even my family doctor told me "DONT GO THERE, UNLESS YOU WANT TO PAY FOR FIRST YEAR AND THEN DROP OUT!!!" - Yes, she said it in a quite serious manner). I also dont want to apply to York, Ryerson, or those kinds of Universities... I want to apply to a high ranking one, maybe within the top 50s?

So far, I think my school year is going good, so I hope by the end of first semester, my first three subjects will land me at a 91.5 ... (I pray so.)

Thanks guys, I appreciate it.
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7 replies
A photo of Kumar Kumar
I'm not too sure about McGill or UBC (I live in Ontario) but i've heard great things about queens and mcmaster. I've got a few friends going to Mcmaster and they love it there. As long as you stay focused it's not too hard and leaves you time to have fun as well.
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A photo of onlymatthew onlymatthew
For life sci/health sci...

McMaster > Queen's/Western > McGill > U of T

U of T and McGill both reduce your GPA quite a bit just because they're quite difficult. U of T is a slaughterhouse for grade hungry international students to slave away at.

Queen's/Western are both pretty interchangeable in my opinion. They both have medical schools that their undergraduate program is affiliated with. They both offer minor/double degree options and I think they're comparable in terms of difficulty. Queen's may be more known internationally, but if your goal is a Canadian medical school, it really does not matter.

McMaster health sci is likely your best best at medicine. Don't bother with life sci unless it's your only choice, as you'll be living in the shadow of your superior older brother. The only benefit I can see of life sci is that it's not as tunnel-vision on the path to medicine, so if you're unsure in what you want to do, it can give you a good handle on many things. Also, you can transfer from life sci to health sci in subsequent years. You may also want to consider McMaster art sci.

Other universities you may want to consider are UBC and Guelph. They both have some "specialized" science programs such as food science and like marine biology (???)

Also, take a look at the actual health/medical science forum section :cat:
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A photo of rocky905 rocky905
Ignore the poster above me. He's just angry western has no academic reputation and is only known as a party school.

UofT half my floor are life science majors. Most are very studious, but everyone parties pretty hard and internationals make up like 5-10% of life sci.

UofT has the best science ranking in Canada for one, it has the most research funding so its easier to get research positions, the textbooks refer overwhelmingly to UofT profs and researchers so it has the best faculty, and it has superior equipment then other universities.

Grades-wise, its on a bell curve so you won't have brutally low marks, and will be quite consistent with your class mates. But its rarer to get a perfect 4.0.

For top 50, UofT is the only university in Canada in world top 50s.

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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
If graduate school is your goal go to an easier university, if not go to the most reputable one. York and Ryerson isn't that bad, I think they're pretty good. Many students get into grad programs from them.
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A photo of Meridian Meridian
Alot depends on what your next level goal is.

Being able to hold a B+ thru any Uni should get you into many grad schools in Canada.

If you are aiming towards medical school (based on your doctor comment), then it might be a different approach. For Med school you have to have the GPA just to think about applying. As mentioned already, McGill & UofT Life Science have a track record of being very difficult to get a high GPA. The comments from Rocky about riding the curve upward at the bottom might keep you from failing out, but that's not going to help for medical school. Also, you don't need to do a science undergrad to apply to med school.

I think onlymathew has a fair assessment of the science schools local to Ontario. It matched my thinking when applying. I might include Guelph in there also if biology research is your end goal. They all have good ratings in the Macleans rankings.

You will need +92% to get into McGill. Mac HealthSci requires +90% and a stellar supplemental (and alot of luck). Queens/UWO/UofT, high 80's.

As far as Rocky's comments on International rankings -- there are lots of variations. McGill/UBC/UofT are all usually in the running in the top 50. McGill is usually most recognized. Be careful of what is being ranked. You will find alot of reputation is based on grad school and research activity - which does not reflect the quality of the undergrad teaching. Reputation and prestige really only matter if you plan to attend an American medical or grad school. Otherwise, it is not that important within Canadian.



If you want to get a job straight after bachelors in industry or gov't, also consider a school that has co-op opportunities. Carleton as example has co-op Biochem. I suspect Waterloo has co-op science. Relevant co-op job experience will get you the full time job interview way before your school and marks. It can also help pay your way thru without nasty OSAP loans to pay back afterwards.

Most important is visiting each school you are interested in and getting a feel for the place including meeting students, profs, and seeing facilities. This in the end was the most important aspect in making my own decision. You have to feel comfortable there if you are spending atleast the next 4 years and $80K of your money there.

Do look at the lab facilities. Most schools have done major renovations in the past few years. Queens and McGill new undergrad Chem labs are amazing. Align your visit with one of the open houses to get best access to look around. Plan a private follow up visit to the top 2 choices before making your final decision.


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A photo of ktel ktel

@rocky905 wrote

UofT has the best science ranking in Canada for one, it has the most research funding so its easier to get research positions, the textbooks refer overwhelmingly to UofT profs and researchers so it has the best faculty, and it has superior equipment then other universities.

I feel U of T is much more focused on their graduate students than their undergrads. They have amazing research funding, but realistically an undergrad isn't going to be able to tap into much of that. Getting research experience depends on getting to know your professors. While this is certainly possible at U of T, it's arguably easier at smaller universities
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A photo of uncharted1111 uncharted1111
I'm not sure how it is at other universities, but at my school it's really easy for undergrads to get involved with research.

All of last (1st) year I thought there was no way I was going to be able to get into a lab since I didn't have any research or lab experience at all coming into uni, but a couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and emailed about 14 MDs and professors from our med school telling them I was interested in getting involved with their research. Didn't know any of them beforehand. Within a few days 8 of them emailed me back saying they wanted to meet with me in-person to discuss it further and ultimately 5 of them offered me positions in their labs when I met with them last week.

So yeah, no matter what school you go to, if you want to get involved with research you should just try reaching out to your profs and other faculty members. The worst that can happen is they say no.
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